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Om Letland

Her kan du læse mere om Letlands geografi, historie og samfund.

 

 

Geografi

  • Hovedstad: Riga, 611.824 indbyggere (2022).

  • Areal: 64.537 km2 (Danmark: 42.924 km2).

  • Indbyggertal: 1.88 mio. (2022).

  • Befolkningsvækst: -0,9% (2021), -0,8% (2020), -0,64% (2019), -0,8 % (2018).

  • Befolkning: 63% letter, 24,2% russere, 3,1% belarussere, 2,2% ukrainere, 1,9% polakker, 1,1% litauere og 4,5% andre nationaliteter (2022).

  • Sprog: Lettisk.

  • Religion: Luthersk-evangelisk (37%), Romersk-katolsk (18%), Lettisk-ortodoks (13%), Ikke-religiøs (31%).

Letland er beliggende ved Østersøens østlige bred og grænser op til Estland, Litauen, Rusland, Belarus og med en maritim grænse til Sverige. Landet er opdelt i fire landsdele med hver sin historie og kulturelle traditioner. Kurzeme ligger ud mod Østersøen i den vestlige del af landet, Zemgale ligger i den sydlige del, Latgale ligger mod øst, og Vidzeme udgør den nordlige del af Letland.

Letland ligger på overgangen mellem det nordeuropæiske og det centraleuropæiske klima- og vegetationsbælte, og landet har forholdsvis afvekslende landskabsformer. Der er primært fladt kystland, der afløses af vekslende sletteområder og bakkeland inde i landet. Letland har store landarealer, og 46% af landet er dækket af skov. Der er 12.500 floder og vandløb og mere end 3.600 søer. Den største flod, Daugava, strækker sig gennem hele landet. Det lettiske klima er koldt og fugtigt, og somrene kan være regnfulde og forholdsvis korte.

Økonomi

  • BNP pr. capita:  17.865 € (2021).

  • Vækst i BNP: 4,5% (2021), -5,6% (2020), 2,2% (2019), 4,8% (2018).

  • Valuta: Euro, €.

  • Arbejdsløshed: 6,3% (2022).

  • Inflation: 16,5% (2022).

 

Historie

Det landområde, der i dag omfatter de tre baltiske lande, var ved slutningen af folkevandringstiden og frem til 1200-tallets begyndelse opsamlingsområde for mange mindre folkeslag. I 1200-tallet begyndte de tyske ridderordeners korstog, og i 1201 grundlagde den tyske biskop Albert fæstningen Riga. Området blev herefter samlet under den tyske ridderorden, og Riga blev senere en del af Hanseforbundet. Danmark var også til stede i dele af Letland i den tid. En legende fortæller, at byen Valmiera i det nordlige Letland er opkaldt efter Kong Valdemar, da danskerne vandt et stort slag i denne by i 1219. Sejren var vigtig for den danske erobring af Estland og Livland, dvs. også dele af Letland. 

I 1868 blev Det Lettiske Selskab dannet i Riga og spillede siden en stor rolle i den nationale vækkelse. Letland blev erklæret selvstændig republik den 18. november 1918, hvorefter der fulgte en kompliceret og blodig selvstændighedskrig. Det lykkedes den lettiske regering af vinde magten men ikke uden hjælp fra venligsindede nabolande. Danmark anerkendte allerede Letlands selvstændighed i 1921 og spillede desuden en mindre rolle i Letlands frihedskrig (1918-1920), eftersom 200 danske frivillige soldater deltog i frihedskampene i 1919. Fuld international anerkendelse blev først opnået i 1922. I mellemkrigsårene oplevede Riga stor velstand; niveauet var på højde med Finland. 

Den 4. maj 1990 erklærede parlamentet, Det Øverste Råd, Letland for uafhængigt. Ved valget til Det Øverste Råd i maj 1990 opnåede Letlands Folkefront absolut flertal, og den sovjetiske annektering blev umiddelbart derefter erklæret ulovlig. Sovjetunionen nægtede at anerkende Letlands ønske om uafhængighed, og i januar 1991 angreb sovjetiske specialstyrker det lettiske indenrigsministerium med adskillige dødsfald til følge. Ved en folkeafstemning om Letlands uafhængighed i marts 1991 stemte 73,7% for uafhængighed. Letlands Øverste Råd gentog sin uafhængighedserklæring den 21. august 1991. Tre dage senere genoptog Danmark de diplomatiske forbindelser med Letland.

 

Befolkning

Befolkningstallet har været konstant faldende siden uafhængigheden i 1991, hvor befolkningen dengang udgjorde 2,7 mio. I dag udgør befolkningen ca. 1,9 mio. indbyggere. Letland har en Bbefolkningstætheden er ca. 30 personer pr. km2 (Danmark: 135 personer pr. km2).

Riga er den største by med 611.824 indbyggere. Herefter følger Daugavpils (82.046), Liepāja (68.535), Jelgava (56.062), Jūrmala (49.687) og Ventspils (33.906) (2020-tal). Omkring en tredjedel af befolkningen bor dermed i Riga.

 

Politik

Grundloven af 1922, Satversme, trådte i kraft i 1993 efter det første frie parlamentsvalg som følge af Letlands genvundne selvstændighed i 1991. Grundloven danner rammen om et parlamentarisk demokrati med en præsident, der vælges af parlamentet for en 4-årig periode. Formelt har præsidenten overvejende ceremonielle beføjelser, men kan i praksis få betydelig indflydelse uden- og indenrigspolitisk, da præsidenten har ret til at foreslå ny lovgivning. Parlamentet, Saeima, består af 100 medlemmer valgt for en 4-årig periode. Medlemmerne vælges direkte, og fordelingen af pladser foregår proportionelt til antallet af vælgere i de fem regionale valgkredse. Letland har en spærregrænse på 5% ved parlamentsvalg.

Letlands lokale administration er inddelt i 36 kommuner og syv større byer, der tilsammen udgør 43 lokalvalgkredse. Lokalpolitikere er ligeledes direkte valgt til en periode på fire år, og antallet af pladser er proportionalt til antallet af indbyggere i en valgkreds. For kommunalbestyrelser og byråd varierer antallet af medlemmer fra 13 (større byer med under 50.000 indbyggere) til 23 (kommuner med over 60.000 indbyggere). En undtagelse er dog Rigas byråd, der består af 60 medlemmer. 

 

Regering

  • Statsoverhoved: Præsident Egils Levits siden 8. juli 2019.

  • Premierminister: Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity/Jaunā Vienotība).

  • Udenrigsminister: Edgars Rinkēvičs (New Unity/Jaunā Vienotība).

  • Forsvarsminister: Ināra Mūrniece (National Alliance/Nacionālā Apvienība).

  • Formand for Saeima: Edvards Smiltēns (United List/ Apvienotais Saraksts).

 

100 året for diplomatiske relationer

I 2021 fejrede vi 100 året for Danmarks anerkendelse de jure af republikken Letland og etableringen af diplomatiske forbindelser mellem Danmark og Letland i 1921. Danmark anerkendte Letland den 7. februar 1921 og var blandt de første lande til at anerkende Letland.

2021 var også 30 året for genetableringen af diplomatiske forbindelser mellem de to lande i 1991 (24. august). Danmark var også blandt de allerførste til at reetablere diplomatiske forbindelser med Letland efter uafhængigheden i 1991. I løbet af året blev der afholdt en række arrangementer i sammenhæng med 100 året og 30 året. Mere information nedenfor.

Læs historien om danske frivillige soldaters deltagelse i Letland's uafhængighedskamp her.

Læs mere om Danmarks rolle i genetableringen af Letland's uafhængighed her.

Læs om 100 års jubilæum for diplomatiske relationer mellem Danmark og Letland her.

 

En ny vision for fremtidig samarbejde

Den 4. juni 2021 præsenterede udenrigsministrene fra Danmark, Estland, Letland og Litauen en ny fælles vision for fremtidig samarbejde. Anledning var fejringen af 100-års jubilæet for oprettelsen af diplomatiske relationer mellem Danmark og de baltiske lande. Hjørnestenene i visionen er kampen for fælles fundamentale værdier, sikkerhed og forsvar samt en styrkelse af samarbejdet omkring klimaforandringer og den grønne omstilling. Læs mere om deklarationen nedenfor.

 

Joint Statement on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Denmark and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – a vision for the future cooperation

This year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Denmark and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, determined to further consolidate the strong relationship and close friendship that our countries have enjoyed to date. While we are connected by geography, we are also bound together by common values, mutual interests as well as extensive economic and cultural relations and people-to-people contacts. 
The year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of Denmark's recognition of the Baltic States after their independence in 1918. Additionally, 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Denmark and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania after the Baltic countries regained their independence. Denmark never recognised the annexation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union and was one of the first countries to support Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in their struggle for freedom and to restore diplomatic relations. On 26 August 1991, the four foreign ministers, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Lennart Meri, Jānis Jurkāns, and Algirdas Saudargas, signed a joint communiqué in Copenhagen, which stated that “a long dark chapter of the Baltic history has finally come to an end. We rejoice at this momentous event. The Baltic people are again masters in their own houses”. Today, in Copenhagen, we highlight the special historical ties between our countries and reaffirm our strong bond of cooperation.

Our cooperation has developed significantly over the last 30 years. This is in part due to the Baltic nations’ significant societal development as well as the impressive international integration, not least through membership of the EU and NATO. The double anniversary is an opportunity to look ahead and further develop our cooperation. By seeking new areas of cooperation to jointly meet the global challenges, we also contribute to the common objective of making the Nordic-Baltic region a more competitive, sustainable and innovative region. 

Our security is indivisible. Therefore, we share the common goal of preserving the security and stability in the Baltic Sea Region and the entire Euro-Atlantic area together with Allies and partners. Our common efforts in NATO and through NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence, the Baltic Air Policing mission, the Multinational Division North and NATO Force Integration Unit demonstrate our resolve and solidarity in support of each other as close Allies. We will develop and strengthen our cooperation on security, deterrence and defence, including on countering hybrid threats. We will continue to promote the security of our region through NATO and through stronger NATO-EU cooperation. We will also continue to contribute to international security through active participation in international operations and missions, in which we often work closely together, such as our shared efforts in NATO Mission Iraq, currently led by Denmark, where Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania contribute to the Danish force protection unit. 

We are strongly committed to the common European values. 30 years ago, Denmark supported the Baltic States in their fight for democracy and freedom. Today, our four nations are strong democracies, and we are jointly committed to defending and promoting the EU’s founding values, not least democracy and the rule of law. Building on our own strong democratic foundation, we will also work together to support the countries in our Eastern neighbourhood in their struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights. Our recent cooperation and common efforts regarding the situation in Belarus and Ukraine are important examples. Europe as a whole will not be free and at peace as long as our Eastern partners’ sovereignty and their fundamental rights and choices are being undermined and international law is violated. We will safeguard democratic principles and human rights globally and regionally, including through relevant multilateral fora such as the UN. As we honour the 100th anniversary of the birth of Andrei Sakharov and look forward to a restart of the Sakharov hearings on human rights, we maintain our strong political support for freedom, and we will continue to work together to support civil society, the free and pluralistic media and human rights organisations in our neighbourhood.

We agree to take ambitious steps to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. We will work closely together to promote a just green transition of our societies by sharing our experiences, solutions and know-how. In particular, our cooperation to advance onshore and offshore wind energy in the Baltic Sea is of key importance, also as a means of addressing energy security. Internationally, we will engage in strong climate and energy diplomacy to promote a just global green transition, phase out coal and to push the world’s biggest economies to make sustainable changes and advocate for adherence to the highest international standards of nuclear safety and environmental protection in third countries. We will improve the sustainable development of farming, food and rural areas and bolster environmental care. At the same time, we will serve as an example, showing that an ambitious green transition is achievable, while simultaneously creating jobs and economic growth.

One of our biggest current challenges is to secure an economic recovery from COVID-19. We are committed to use the European Recovery and Resilience Facility to ensure a strong and socially balanced economic recovery, fostering job-creation and advancing the green and digital transition of our societies. This is also a unique opportunity for increased mutually beneficial commercial cooperation. In this regard, we also underline the need to ensure strict implementation, enforcement and strengthening of the Single Market rules as well as working expeditiously on removing existing barriers and addressing vulnerabilities shown by COVID-19. Strengthened cooperation within higher education and research should also act as a catalyst in reaching the twin ambitions of green and digital transition, with a focus on the European economic recovery, innovation, competitiveness and opening up of data. Building on the core principle of excellence, we are committed to enhance our collective efforts within higher education and research to reach our common goals. 

We are committed to building a future with responsible, democratic and secure technology in Europe and globally. Through innovative and responsible technological solutions, we can improve the lives of our people and strengthen our societies and economies. Responsible technology will be crucial if we are to solve some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century such as climate change and fair terms for markets and employment. At the same time, we recognise that technology also entails risks that require our attention, including cyberattacks, disinformation and authoritarian surveillance. We will continue to work together in the EU with all Member States to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, including through cooperation on accelerated production of vaccines as a means to overcome the health crisis and to ensure the return to normal life for our citizens.  

We will continue to support the strong cultural ties between our countries and our people. The Danish Cultural Institute opened the first international cultural institute in the Baltic States in Riga in 1990. This happened already during the Baltic struggle to regain independence and before formal diplomatic ties could be reestablished. Still today, the Danish Cultural Institute promotes important cultural exchange and people-to-people contacts.  We encourage our citizens to participate in the many cultural activities in Kaunas as the city becomes European Capital of Culture in 2022.   

In achieving the goals outlined above, we will make use of our multifaceted cooperation – bilaterally, through regional cooperation formats, including Nordic-Baltic cooperation and the Council of the Baltic Sea States, and through relevant multilateral fora. As small states, we acknowledge that we can best promote our common values and safeguard our interests through strong cooperation in multilateral institutions. Therefore, our collaboration within the EU, NATO, UN and other organisations will continue to be the cornerstones of our cooperation.